BY MIKE AUBRY OTTAWA SUN
Registrations for organ donations in Ottawa have skyrocketed by more than 8,000 since December, and the Trillium Gift of Life Network(TGLN) attributes it to the " Hélène Campbell effect."
"People are inspired when they can relate to the individual who is talking to them," said TGLN president and CEO Ronnie Gavsie.
"It becomes a personal ask and this is Hélène's personal ask and Ottawa has responded."
Campbell is the 21-year-old Barrhaven woman who raised awareness for organ donations across the world while she battled a degenerative lung disease.
She received a double lung transplant in a Toronto hospital on April 6 after her campaign caught the attention of celebrities including Ellen Degeneres and pop sensation Justin Bieber through her Twitter account @alungstory.
Registration numbers jumped by 2% since Campbell launched her public crusade, and Gavsie said that's significant because it takes 115,000 registration to move the dial one percentage point.
April is National Organ and Tissue Awareness month, and to increase that personal connection with donors, the TGLN has launched the Gift of 8 Movement.
It's a quasi-social network service where people can make profile pages to share their stories and inspire their friends to register to donate their organs and tissues.
Log on to beadonor.ca to join the network.
"When you have a page, it becomes a personal ask, and you're asking your friends and your colleagues and your neighbours to register consent," said Gavsie.
The site lets you choose a default message or you can write your own, and you can even set a goal for how many registrations you'd like to have come through your page.
When it comes registering donors, small communities in Ontario are way ahead of their urban peers.
Donor registrations in Northern Ontario are the highest, ranging between 30 and 49%, while dense urban populations in the Greater Toronto area are stagnant, from less than 10% in Scarborough and Vaughan to less than 19% in the rest of Toronto.
Gavsie said it's because there's greater community engagement in rural towns.
"In the North, we see smaller, very close-knit communities and cohesive neighborhoods where if one person is touched by the need for a transplant many people in the community know about it an they rally," she said.
The TGLN hopes the Gift of 8 Movement will broaden the scope of registrations.
Gavsie would love to see an Ottawa Senator's (ice hockey) team page with each of their stories about organ transplants that have touched them,
Ontario residents can see how their community compares at the following link https://beadonor.ca/communities
“You Have the Power to Donate Life – to become an organ and tissue donor Sign-up today! Tell Your Loved Ones of Your Decision”
Australia, register at Australian Organ Donor Register
New Zealand, register at Organ Donation New Zealand
South Africa, http://www.odf.org.za/
United States, donatelife.net
United Kingdom, register at NHS Organ Donor Register
Your generosity can save or enhance the lives of up to fifty people with heart, kidneys, liver, lungs, pancreas and small intestine transplants (see allotransplantation). One tissue donor can help by donating skin, corneas, bone, tendon, ligaments and heart valves
Has your life been saved by an organ transplant? "Pay it forward" and help spread the word about the need for organ donation - In the U.S. another person is added to the national transplant waiting list every 11 minutes and 18 people die each day waiting for an organ or tissue transplant. Organs can save lives, corneas renew vision, and tissue may help to restore someone's ability to walk, run or move freely without pain. Life Begins with You.